Cambodia, Feb 2013

In search of winter warmth and some relief from the lack of interesting insects in Europe, we made a late February trip to stay with relatives in Singapore. As a cultural side trip for a taste of more genuine SE Asia, we went for a long weekend to Cambodia, largely to see the famous temple of Angkor Wat. During our organized tour, many other temples were also involved. Happily for those of us more interested in insect life than piles of ancient stones, many of the temple sites included water bodies supporting Odonata.

At most of the following sites, we were not primarily hunting Odos so those we spotted were somewhat incidental. The exception was the Siem Reap River, which we set out to investigate, specifically with Odos in mind, on our last morning.


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Sra Srang: 22-Feb-2013

J01_1389 Trithemis pallidinervisAt Sra Srang before entering Banteay Kdei temple, I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted am unknown dragonfly flitting about and perching. It turned out to be a Dancing Dropwing (Trithemis pallidinervis), which ended up being quite a common species. Beside the temple itself there was a small lake with were Common Amberwings (Brachythemis contaminata), though it took a few days to identify those. We also spotted a Common Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia), called Oriental Scarlet in the European theatre by Dijkstra/Lewington.

  • Trithemis pallidnervis (Dancing Dropwing)
  • Brachythemis contaminata (Common Amberwing)
  • Crocothemis servilia (Common Scarlet/Oriental Scarlet)

Suddenly, a day of temples seemed more appealing. 🙂

Angkor Thom, Terrace of the Elephants: 22-Feb-2013

J01_1463 Brachythemis contaminataI’d lost track of how many temples we’d done by now. Though I couldn’t see a nearby body of water outside the Terrace of the Elephants, there were some Odos perching in the short grass in front of the stone-carved elephants. These, I would later discover, were again Common Amberwings (Brachythemis contaminata) which I believe are classed as groundlings. Zooming about and refusing to settle was also a moderate swarm of Yellow-banded Flutterers (Rhyothemis phyllis) and also, I fancy, what I later suspected to be a Variegated Flutterer (Rhyothemis variegata), though that must remain unconfirmed.

  • Brachythemis contaminata (Common Amberwing)
  • Rhyothemis phyllis (Yellow-barred Flutterer)

Angkor Thom, Phimeanakas Pool: 22-Feb-2013

J01_1486 Neurothemis tulliaThis erstwhile swimming pool being used by a local for fishing, is now overgrown with plenty of emergent vegetation and here we were lucky enough to find a couple of Cambodian specialities (i.e. dragonflies that we couldn’t have seen in Singapore), two Neurothemis species: the Pied Percher (N. tullia) and Russet Percher/Fulvous Forest Skimmer (N. fulvia). Common Redbolts (Rhiodothemis rufa) were also present.

  • Neurothemis tullia (Pied Percher)
  • Neurothemis fulvia (Russet Percher/Fulvous Forest Skimmer)
  • Rhodothemis rufa (Common Redbolt)

The delightfully black-marked Pied Percher definitely made the day. (They often/usually have a white band outboard of the black.)

Angkor Wat: 23-Feb-2013

J01_1588 Orthetrum sabinaWe arrived at Angkor Wat at 5:30 AM, well before sunrise. Even before the sun had risen, I was very surprised to spot some red-bodied Odos zooming about just above the surface of the reflecting pool. I still don’t know what they were, unfortunately. After the obligatory sunrise photo shoot, we wandered around the temple itself and then I had a chance to re-examine the reflecting pool where, once again, the good old Common Amberwing (Brachythemis contaminata) put in several appearances, together with a Variegated Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), called the Slender Skimmer in the European area by Dijkstra/Lewington.

  • Brachythemis contaminata (Common Amberwing)
  • Orthetrum sabina (Variegated Green Skimmer/Slender Skimmer)

Bakong: 24-Feb-2013

J01_1620 Scarlet BaskerAt this, my 10th temple in two days, being decidedly templed out and irresistibly drawn to the moat with critters flitting about, I elected to remain outside while Carol went into the temple with our guide. Good decision, this turned out to be the second most productive spot in our brief Cambodian tour and netted us not only our first sighting of a Trumpet Tail (Acisoma panorpoides) but also our only sighting of a Scarlet Basker (Urothemis signata).

  • Acisoma panorpoides (Trumpet Tail)
  • Aethriamanta aethra (Blue Adjutant)
  • Diplacodes nebulosa (Black-tipped Percher)
  • Rhodothemis rufa (Common Redbolt)
  • Rhyothemis phyllis (Yellow-barred Flutterer)
  • Urothemis signata (Scarlet Basker)

Suddenly, a day of temples seemed more appealing. 🙂

Siem Reap River: 25-Feb-2013

J01_1779 Rhyothemis phyllisJ01_1852 Ictinogomphus decoratusOn our last day, with a couple of hours to kill before our flight back to Singapore, we went to investigate the river flowing through the middle of Siem Reap just at the end of the street in which our hotel stood. This was really our only specific Odo hunting time in Cambodia. And very productive it was, too, with 11 species being recorded, including our first glimpse of the impressive Common Flangetail (Ictinogomphus decoratus), still our sole non-Libellulid dragonfly of the SE Asia trip. My most thrilling highpoint, though, was a Yellow-barred Flutterer (Rhyothemis phyllis) which, for the first time, settled and posed very cooperatively.

  • Agriocnemis femina (Variable Wisp)
  • Ischnura senegalensis (Common Bluetail)
  • Crocothemis servilia (Common Scarlet/Oriental Scarlet)
  • Brachythemis contaminata (Common Amberwing)
  • Diplacodes nebulosa (Black-tipped Percher)
  • Diplacodes trivialis (Blue Percher)
  • Ictinogomphus decoratus (Common Flangetail)
  • Orthetrum sabina (Variegated Green Skimmer/Slender Skimmer)
  • Rhyothemis phyllis (Yellow-barred Flutterer)
  • Rhyothemis variegata (Variegated Flutterer)
  • Trithemis pallidinervis (Dancing Dropwing)

I entered Cambodia with no real expectations of seeing much in the way of dragonflies and left a very contented camper.

Below is a spreadsheet of the species we spotted by location.

Posted in 2013, Cambodia, Trip reports

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